He set the plate before her. He knew she wasn't hungry but he did it anyway. She didn't mind because she knew he went to a lot of trouble to put this dinner together. She always did all the cooking, he always did nothing. This time he put in some effort and she wanted to reward.
After thinking a moment while simultaneously offering idle, akward conversation, she realized, No, she didn't want this. She always did the cooking because she liked doing. he did this cooking because he felt obligated to. As if somehow performing a task traditionally done by another person means you are now magically equal. Or as if this suddenly means they know what it feels like to be in the other's shoes.
The problem isn't that he never cooked and she always did. The problem was that he rarely showed much initiative to advance their relationship. They both knew it but neither knew what to do about it. It rarely felt natural for him to do anything other than what he was doing. He was naturally reactive in this regard, even though he knew that to be in a relationship with a chance to be successful in the long term is to be proactive about making the other person feel special and loved. His efforts at this always felt concious, akward. It made him less inclined to attempt it again next time.
He felt like he could only make this work if he were a different person, which would take some recreating of himself. But once he's a different person, will he still want her again? Will he want something different as well?